Busch wins Nationwide race
by Bran Strickland
Busch’s win at Talladega was his fourth in six races. Brian Schoenhals
TALLADEGA — NASCAR’s lower-tier series went from being the Busch Series to its current name, Nationwide.

But if this keeps up, they might consider changing it back. In Saturday’s Aaron’s 312, Busch got his fourth win in six races this season taking the checkered flag under yellow.

“It comes down to who you can work with at the end of the race, Busch said. Fortunately we had a teammate that was really good to work with today in Joey (Logano). The Game Stop guys did a nice job of keeping him in position all day.”

The race’s final lap couldn’t have personified the day’s events any better — both good and bad.

With Logano pushing, Busch shot through the middle of the pack to add to an already obliterated record for lead changes, and then behind them, disaster struck for the 11th time on the day.

Mike Wallace got turned around, made contact sending him airborne flipping onto his hood and then back onto his wheels.

NASCAR threw the yellow flag and then froze the field. After a short deliberation, Busch was awarded the win.

Wallace’s wreck was the 11th caution of the day, and the biggest was a Talladega Superspeedway signature wreck where 21 cars were collected.

Busch’s winning pass marked the 56th lead change among 18 drivers. The old record, also set at Talladega Superspeedway, was 36.

“I saw daylight, and I said if I can see daylight I’m shooting for it,” Busch said. “I knew that was it, that it was the only opportunity I’d have. Somehow we made it through there.

“I didn’t think it was wide enough for a car to fit through, but I certainly made it wide enough. I closed my eyes and held my foot to the floor and prayed for the best.”

While the win personified what was going on in the Nationwide this season, it also personified what’s been going on in the sport for a while.

Busch’s win was his 47 in the series and is only two shy of Mark Martin’s record of 49. While he has achieved the mark earlier in his career than Martin, the two are on just about the same pace. Busch has 47 wins in 209 starts, while it took Martin 233 starts to set the record mark.

“The Mark Martin record is three away from being in my own number,” Busch said. “When and where that happens we are not going to pick a date, it is to hard to do that. We have Darlington coming up, we got Dover, Nashville next week, so there is definitely some good opportunity here to win three more races before June or right into June.

“If everything goes right maybe we can do that. If it come this year great, if not we will wait and see if we can do it next year.”’

When it happens, Busch’s name will be the only one that goes down in the record book, but what he did Saturday would have never been possible without the help of his Joe Gibbs teammate.

And even if Busch has had no success in the series, with Logano in his corner, it would have been hard to count him out — Logano has pushed the past three Aaron’s 312 winners to victory lane.

“My car is best pushing,” Logano said. “ … Kyle is not able to do that with his car, so I was like, ‘OK, I’ll be the pusher,’ and I feel safer that way any way.

“It is usually the guy getting pushed that gets spun out. …I’m kind of bombed out the caution came out there. I wanted to race to the checkered flag.”

Joe Nemechek finished third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Elliott Sadler fifth. Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Reed Sorensen and Aric Almirola rounded out the Top 10.

Jason Leffner finished 15th to take a slim lead in the Nationwide Series Standing. Leffler has a two point lead over Allgaier.

While few remember third place, Nemechek couldn’t have been happier. Not on one of NASCAR’s super teams, his finish on Saturday came without nearly the funds others are able to devote to their programs.

Even his sponsor was just a one-race deal.

“How about that for a small team,” Nemechek said. “We’re struggling to find a sponsorship. I thank Kevin Conway and the Extenze brand for coming on board.

“… I just wish it would have finished under green because we had a run coming back on the inside. Brad Keselowski gave me a heck of a push there and we just missed it. It’s great to finally have a run.”

Daily Home sports editor Lavonte Young contributed to this report

Bran Strickland is the sports editor for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3570 or follow him on Twitter @bran_strickland.

© 2011